Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee
« Molly's Sketchbook: Sampler Pillows | Main | Whit's Knits: Toadstool Baby Rattle »
Monday
Jul282008

Molly's Sketchbook: A Party Garland

This whimsical garland would be a perfect decoration for a child's birthday party, a wedding, a holiday celebration or a baby shower. The fun bright colors and different sizes and shapes will make any space more festive and inviting! Enjoy --Molly

 

Materials

mpg6

This is enough to make at least a 40 foot garland!

  • Lots and lots of scraps in at least 10 different patterns. This would be a great use of fat quarters and it's also a fun and effective way to whittle away at your stash! (You may recognize some of the above patterns from my previous projects such as "Fabric Window Valentines", and the "Patchwork Easter Eggs".) You can get at least 6 feet of garland for every 1/4 yard (or fat quarter) of fabric!
  • 1 spool Gutermann Invisible thread
  • 1 set of Garland Templates which you can download here and here.
  • 1 heavy paper bag

 

Cut Fabrics 

mpg8
Download and print the Garland Templates above. Transfer them to your paper bag and cut them out. I like to iron my paper bag first (but make sure not to use steam). It's helpful to use a heavy paper bag as opposed to just cutting out the original print-out because you'll be using the templates so much and you don't want them to wear down.

mpg9

mpg10
Press one of your garland fabrics and fold it in half, wrong sides together (so the right side is facing out.) Trace your templates onto the fabric. I did at least one tracing of each template on each fabric I had, and I also tried to do more of the smaller shapes than the bigger ones. The biggest shapes work best as an occasional accent.

mpg12





 

 

Cut out each shape. Since you are cutting on a doubled piece of fabric every shape cut will actually yield two pieces, both with their right sides facing. Keep these pieces together, you will treat them as one piece from now on. That way the garland won't have a right and a wrong side.

mpg14

Cut the template shapes out of every fabric keeping like shapes together. Make sure to keep the front and back of each shape together as well. 

This is the sort of project that's better to do over time as opposed to all in one day. I cut out the shapes in my spare time over a week or so (My hand got tired if I did too many!) and kept them in a box together until I was ready to sew.

 

Sew Garland 

mpg15

Thread your machine and bobbin with the invisible thread.

Sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the top edge of each set of pieces. Again, make sure that you're keeping the front and back of each piece together.

Pick another piece at random, place it directly after the piece you've just sewn, and continue sewing. Do not pick up the foot.

mpg17
There should be very little (if any) distance between the sewn pieces. 

When sewing a flower piece, as shown above, sew your seam through the middle of the shape. For all other shapes sew with a 1/4-inch seam along the top.

Sewing the pieces together is the most fun part of this project. Try to vary the colors and shapes often. As you get going it will go faster and faster.

Just keep sewing in this manner until you reach your desired length. Keep the garland neat as you sew because it will get long quickly. You might want to wrap it around a piece or cardboard as it grows to keep track of it.

mpg18

Here is a picture of the final garland. Notice how each piece has two right sides so it will look good from any angle.

Now all you have to do it hang it and enjoy. To get the garland to fit in your space properly don't be afraid to cut it... if necessary you can always sew it back together!

Reader Comments (50)

What a fabulous idea! And your photographs are stunning (as always).
July 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaritza
I LOVE THIS!!! I can't wait to make one. We are separating our 2 girls (ages 14 & 7) into their own rooms in 2 weeks, and I totally want to do this for my 7 year olds room. She will love it. Thanks for the inspiration!
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterE. Lovely
What a fabulous, witty idea! I love your fabric choices, they make the garland look so fresh and happy! This is indeed a fantastic project!
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterConcha
Oh gosh, this is such a neat project! What a great way to use up stash fabric! Thanks for sharing!
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
Brilliant! Some friends in The Netherlands just had a baby and the Dutch are big on garlands for celebrations. I cannot wait to make this for them. Thanks!
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca
What a great idea....and washable and reusable, many times over. Sure beats paper. Thanks!
-Lynn
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
WOW! great project! I love the idea of just sewing it with the invisible thread.
Thanks for sharing!
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTamar
what a great tutorial, I'll have to file this away for my daughter's next birthday party

the picture you took is gorgeous along with the styling
July 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjessica
Oh, so beautiful and simple and a fresh twist on garlands/banners! I love it! I'll have to do a little boy version!

Thank you for the inspiration!

♥ Melissa~
Did something similar for a beach party theme - used tropical prints and varying shapes of the triangle. As I sewed, I fed into a large handled shopping bag on the back side of my machine. When I finished all my 'flags' in one continuous line, I pinned the end to the top of the bag. When I got to the party site, all I had to do was unpin the end and start hanging from there. When I got to a wall, I cut it and moved on. No tangles and the perfect length for every string!
July 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTori
what an adorable idea! we're throwing a baby shower at our house this weekend and i'm going to convince everyone that these garlands in a baby blue theme would be the perfect festive decorations! beautiful pictures as well!
July 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlaurennn
I love the garland- but also the table! Where is it from??? I feel like I have seen one like this before, but I can't place it....
July 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne
Hi Adrienne,
The table top was made for some legs a friend of mine found on the street in Soho. Its been photographed a few times so perhaps thats why it looks familiar. Anyhow, thanks for your comment! --Joelle
July 31, 2008 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
My new husband and I started cutting out fabric tonight. Since getting married, we have become very crafty, we are nesting and just want to create stuff together. He is helping me with the garland for the outdoor baby shower we are throwing for my sister. She is expecting a baby boy! Thank you!
August 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
This project looks like so much fun! One problem: I don't sew, and I don't have a machine. Drat! I do have a question, in case I figure out a way to make this (borrow a machine!). I want to be clear that you only sew the top edge of each piece (well, except for the flowers). Is this correct? Thanks! I love the garland!
August 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie
I am SO going to make this for my daughter! She is leaving for college in two weeks and I will send her an Orange & Black one (that is the schools colors) in the mail. SO so cute!
August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline
Molly, I just made a small one last night. it was real quick to make and so fun.
now I'm only looking forward to buy more cute fabric and make a giant one to decorate my living room.

thanks
xx fanny

ps. here is the link to my garland in case you want to check it
http://tinyurl.com/garlandfanny
August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfanny
this is great! i love the colors you used. thanks for sharing the technique :)
August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdot
This is so cute! I've been wanting to make one with just the triangles for awhile. Is there a template for the triangle shape or do you just wing it with a ruler?
August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Keery
Cindy,
You can find the templates above in the materials sections. There are two templates, the triangles can be found at the first link.
Let us know if you can't find them!
August 6, 2008 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
such a sweet sentiment..love the garland ..love the photo..Jennifer
August 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Paganelli
Seriously...SOOOO soooo fantastic!! Sweet as can be!!! Makes my heart happy!!! Love it to bits and bits!!!

Thanks bunches for sharing!!

xoxo Jenny
August 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenny holiday
this is so much fun! i love it!

i'm definitely making some as soon as i get a sewing machine, but i'm sure it wont be half as cute as yours!
August 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commentererin lang norris
I found this post via Creature Comforts & think that this is such a fabulous idea! I love the fabrics tht you chose to use- your photos lokk like they could be from Martha Stewart!
August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine
I love your garland! I'm using your technique now to make one for my son's "knight" birthday party... but I'm using felt, so only using one layer of fabric, and I"m just doing all triangles. And I discovered that using a rotary cutter and mat with a grid, there's no need to trace a template. I was able to get three triangles from one of those cheap felt rectangles.
August 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHolly
Oh, that's a nice garland! thank you. I've posted it on http://fresh-touch.com (of course I refer people to here). Please let me know if there's any copyright infringement.
August 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlilfairy
I love this garland! I will have to try it for Christmas this year...

I do have a question: where is those table and chairs from? They're just what I've been looking for. Thanks!
September 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney
Hi Whitney,
The table is custom made, but the chairs are from West Elm. You can find the chairs here (and they have a table that matches them):
http://www.westelm.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?partNumber=WE-PRODf785&cmsrc=rel&storeId=17001&langId=-1&catalogId=17002&viewSetCode=E
September 5, 2008 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Molly, you are a crafty genius.
September 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterheidi
I loved the way the garland turned out. So cute. I am definitely going to use it again and possibly to decorate my daughter's bedroom.

I've attached photos of the garland.
November 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
This made me think of other things like sewing door things Can't think whaqt they are called but are beads etc I thought of sewing the flowers hanging down or butterfly shapes etc and then even pver the top of a plain coloured background curtain. Sad my daughter is now 17 and wouldn't want these now....or would she? Maybe hearts?
So many ideas so little time!
Thanks for the inspiration though and hop this gives others ideas as well
ALISON
November 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
thank you so much! this is sooooo cute, and brilliant with the SEWING of the garland, i've always found the flags slide around when linking it into string or ribbon, sewing it's great because it's stuck in one place forever! really, really cute and helpful tutorial, thanks for posting!
December 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay
Love this! Such pretty colors and fabrics. What a cool idea.
January 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie
This is an adorable garland. I think I'm now inspired to make a Valentine's themed one for our home. One question though... with the small, non-triangle shapes, does the fabric flop down showing the wrong side after a while because you aren't sewing all the edges together (just one stitch down the middle of the shape)? Just curious...
January 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly
Hi Kimberly,
The shape is small enough that it hasn't pulled apart (at least not yet). Also, the cottons tend to stick to themselves. If you're making one to hang long term you might want to rethink these pieces. A valentine themed versions sounds lovely!
January 8, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
wonderful! thanks for sharing this great project.
January 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatie
This is a fabulous and easy idea...you could even do holiday-themed swatches and create garland for the holidays. Thank you!
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJCH
Hi Kimberly !
Thank you for sharing your idea.Will you please make a reccomendation for a novice as what type of sewing machine to invest in ?
February 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdana
Hi Dana,
You can find a list of recommended sewing machines at this link:
http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2008/8/28/mollys-sketchbook-sewing-machine-round-up.html
February 16, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for this great tutorial! I posted a link to it at PassiFlora magazine (http://passifloramag.com/2009/04/more-upcycling-and-a-contest/) since this is a creative way to recycle old fabric and a great green craft project!

Anya (from PassiFlora magazine)
Love this idea! So glad I came across your blog.
August 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpendy
I'm translating this cute idea into a Christmas craft. I like that you had more shapes than just the typical triangle. What a nice gift idea.
Coleen, http:/teaontheterrace.blogspot.com/
November 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterColeen
This is amazing! I never thought of doing a garland with different shapes!!
Tip - Try to stitch your flowers, triangles, ect,ect, on to some long plain or pretty ribbon!! It could be really effective! Thanks!!
January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait
I see this and I think 'spring time'. I love it. I've posted a picture and link on my Garlands Galore post.
Cheers!

http://simpletruths.typepad.com/simple-truths/2010/03/garlands-galore.html
March 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjulia
Are frayed edges a problem? I can't wait to try this ...!
March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranne
Fabulous - yet another inspiring post! It would also be a wonderful way of recycling all those outgrown clothes! I've posted an article on my blog http://www.minieco.co.uk
June 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Friggin super adorable! I am going to make one of these as a "craft project" for a baby shower - I'll personalize it with the baby's name and then they can use it for all his birthday parties.

The cutest garland I have seen!!
April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTara Bliven
I made it! With only a few minor modifications. :) Everyone was so impressed and I couldn't thank you all more for the great tutorial. Check it out! http://first4miles.blogspot.com
June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Thanks for sharing Michelle- I love it in the more boy friendly colors!- Molly
June 10, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Made it, loved it so much I haven't taken it down! Though I confess I was too lazy to do the flowers and I just cut out lots of various sizes of rectangles and triangles with my rotary cutter.

Now, is that a Liberty of London curtain on that window? because now I want that.
November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorie

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.